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Student Profile: Yiwen Liu
English doctoral student in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
My name is Yiwen Liu and I’m a PhD candidate in the English department at SFU. During my MPhil program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, I shifted my academic interest from Western canonic literature to scholarships that can better reflect my personal and cultural-political concerns. I found my anchor in postcolonial studies, inter-Asia and transpacific cultural studies, critical race theory, and feminism. When I'm not working, I sometimes play the piano -- I hope to learn Beethoven's "Pathetique" this year! In the past year, I became a devoted boulderer; through the sport of bouldering, I find the perfect balance between mind and body.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?
I came to SFU because my supervisors--Dr. Christine Kim and Dr. Sophie McCall--showed genuine interest in my proposed doctoral work and welcomed me with the warmest hospitality. As I was making my final decision, they met with me in person and gave me a campus tour. As an international student in my early PhD years, I receive generous financial support from the department of English at SFU.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?
There are many important moments that lead me to where I am now. One of the earliest memories I have is from my undergraduate course. It’s a South African short story set during the Apartheid. I don’t remember the title of the piece but I remember this line: “the land is beautiful but it breaks my heart.” For me, it hits home real hard. I always wanted to understand what had happened that constituted such unbearable hatred and injustices across the world, and how can I work with my peers to prevent it from happening again to the generations to come. This has always been the underlying motivation for me to do my graduate studies.
WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?
SFU is very student-centered. I enjoy using the Research Commons at the WAC Bennett Library and other library services. I also benefit from a variety of workshops that focus on writing, teaching, researching, and presentation skills. Additionally, there are always some funding opportunities at SFU.
HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.
I have received major financial support from Ann and William Messenger Graduate Fellowship in English, Aphra Behn Graduate Scholarship in English, and Community Trust Endowment Fund Doctoral Graduate Fellowship in Humanities. These awards enable me to enjoy researching, thinking, and writing without worrying about not making the ends meet.
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